DAOD 5044-4, Family Violence

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition
  3. Overview
  4. Operating Principles
  5. CAF Response
  6. Responsibilities
  7. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2003-01-31

Application: This is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).


Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP).

Enquiries: Director General Health Services (DGHS)

2. Definition

family violence (violence en milieu familial)

An abuse of power within a relationship of family, trust or dependency, and includes many forms of abusive behavior, e.g., emotional abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, destruction of property, injury to pets, physical assault, sexual assault and homicide.

3. Overview


3.1 Family violence is a complex and destructive social phenomenon that occurs throughout Canadian society. On an individual level, family violence is an extremely serious problem. It poses risk of immediate injury, pain and suffering. If ignored, family violence may become chronic and severe, and may cause long-term physical and psychological damage, and possibly death.

3.2 Family violence within the CAF can have a negative effect on:

  1. operational readiness;
  2. work performance; and
  3. good order and discipline.


3.3 The CAF has a number of programs to promote the health and well-being of families of CAF members, foster community cohesion, assist in the prevention of family breakdown, help families in distress and break the cycle of family violence. To address family violence within the families of CAF members, the CAF is committed to:

  1. preventing family violence through education and an understanding of the issues relating to family violence;
  2. establishing procedures for responding to reported incidents of family violence; and
  3. rehabilitating and restoring healthy family units.

4. Operating Principles

Core Principles

4.1 The CAF policy on family violence is based on the following core principles:

  1. the safety of victims is the primary concern;
  2. family violence is not acceptable behavior within the CAF;
  3. CF leadership must play an active role in the prevention of family violence;
  4. all reported incidents of family violence must be acted upon;
  5. all possible assistance and support to victims are provided in a discreet and empathic manner with due regard to family privacy;
  6. the importance of gender dynamics when responding to incidents of family violence is recognized;
  7. confidentiality for all individuals involved in family violence cases, including victims, offenders, family members and those who reported the suspected incidents, is afforded to the maximum extent possible under the law; and
  8. counselling and support services will be offered to the offender as appropriate.

CAF Family Violence Advisory Committee

4.2 The CAF Family Violence Advisory Committee oversees all CAF activities related to family violence. The Committee reports to CMP and consists of the following members or their designates:

  1. civilian representatives of spouses and common law partners of CAF members;
  2. family violence experts from the civilian community;
  3. Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) - Health Promotion;
  4. Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM);
  5. Chaplain General (Chap Gen);
  6. Director General Health Services;
  7. CFPSA / Director Military Family Services;
  8. Director Quality of Life (DQOL); and
  9. such other persons as CMP may consider appropriate.

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Family Crisis Team

4.3 The family crisis team is a team of local personnel, normally including medical personnel, chaplains, the military police (MP), Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) prevention and intervention coordinators and, as appropriate, professional health and social service workers from the civilian community. Each team has a designated team leader, normally the social work officer, who serves as the focal point for coordinating education and interventions in the matter of family violence.


4.4 Education is a key component of the CF family violence prevention strategy. Education promotes increased awareness of the problem, reduces the tolerance for this type of behavior, fosters appropriate responses to family violence and ensures that victims and their families are aware of the services available.

4.5 Base/wing commanders and commanding officers (COs) shall ensure that CF members and their families are provided regularly with information concerning the dynamics of family violence, its effects upon families and the resources available to assist them. This information may be distributed by:

4.6 The CF shall ensure that continuous professional education on family violence, including the specifics of domestic violence, gender dynamics, prevention and intervention strategies, is made available for medical personnel, chaplains, MP, MFRC prevention and intervention coordinators, and other persons whose duties include responding to incidents of family violence.

Reserve Force Units

4.7 Base/wing commanders supporting Reserve units shall ensure that the members of Reserve Force units have equal access to all information, guidance and publications related to family violence within the CF.


4.8 Within 90 days of assuming command base/wing commanders and COs shall be briefed by the family crisis team on the dynamics of family violence, including:

4.9 CF schools and organizations responsible for training shall include information on family violence in the training syllabi for medical personnel, chaplains and MP.

5. CAF Response

Immediate Action

5.1 A supervisor who learns of an alleged or suspected incident of family violence in the family of a CAF member shall:

  1. immediately inform the MP or appropriate civilian police authority if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the imminent safety of an individual is at risk;
  2. immediately notify the local child welfare authorities if child abuse or neglect is alleged or suspected;
  3. provide support and encourage the victim to seek out further help through a recommendation to accept a referral to the family crisis team or appropriate civilian service;
  4. direct that a CAF member, who is alleged or suspected of having committed family violence, contact the team leader of the family crisis team; and
  5. inform the CO if the matter is likely to impact on the service of the CAF member.

5.2 When a CO learns of an alleged or suspected incident of family violence in the family of a CAF member, legal advice should be sought from the unit legal advisor in order to determine if the CAF or a civilian authority has jurisdiction in respect of the incident.

Follow up

5.3 The family crisis team shall conduct an assessment and follow-up of reported cases of family violence.

Administrative Action

5.4 The CO shall determine whether administrative action is to be taken in accordance with applicable regulations and orders with respect to a CAF member who has committed an act of family violence.

5.5 In taking any administrative action, the CO shall take into account the best interests of the family, the CAF member and the CAF, and shall consult with:

  1. personnel support staff;
  2. the unit legal advisor; and
  3. the family crisis team.

Monitoring and Reporting

5.6 Base/wing commanders and COs shall provide statistical information and data on family violence to D Med Pol to support policy analysis and evaluation. The specifics of the information required and the reporting frequency will be identified in a separate directive to be issued under the authority of the Surgeon General.

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6. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

6.1 The following table identifies the primary responsibilities for the family violence policy.

The … is/are responsible for …


  • establishing the CAF Family Violence Advisory Committee and ensuring that the Committee meets regularly.

ECSs and other commanders of commands

  • ensuring that newly appointed base/wing commanders and COs undergo a briefing on family violence within 90 days of assuming command.

Surgeon General

  • providing professional guidance to CMP on family violence;
  • evaluating the effectiveness of CAF activities to reduce family violence;
  • monitoring trends in family violence reporting and follow-up activity;
  • identifying and developing appropriate training on family violence, including educational material; and
  • liaising with civilian authorities.

Director Military Careers Administration

  • providing COs with current information and guidance regarding administrative measures related to family violence;
  • conducting administrative reviews of recommendations made by COs on a CAF member involved in family violence where a breach of counselling and probation has occurred, or where family violence may result in a recommendation for release of the CAF member (see DAOD 5019-2, Administrative Review); and
  • informing the CO and the CAF member, through the chain of command, of:
    • the decision of the approving authority, including reasons for the decision; and
    • any further action to be taken.

Base/wing commanders, and COs

  • establishing base/wing family crisis teams, including teams at the unit level if appropriate; and
  • instituting education and awareness programs on the issue of family violence for CAF members and families.

Family Crisis Team

  • providing assistance to COs in addressing the issue of family violence by:
    • developing local plans and procedures for dealing with family violence, taking into account applicable provincial legislation and any local arrangements;
    • coordinating the delivery of education and awareness programs;
    • establishing procedures for collaboration with civilian family violence services providers to support and enhance base/wing family violence initiatives; and
    • meeting regularly to monitor and review the status and progress of local initiatives;
  • assessing each reported incident of family violence to:
    • assign a point of contact on the team;
    • ensure victims are provided with the necessary support;
    • arrange rehabilitation services for the offender as appropriate;
    • arrange appropriate referral to local community resources;
    • maintain appropriate contact with the family; and
    • meet regularly to review the progress of the case; and
  • being aware of the local provincial child protection legislation and the reporting obligations.


  • immediately upon receipt of an allegation, submitting a report in accordance with DAOD 2008-3, including D Med Pol on the distribution list;
  • ensuring that CAF members alleged or suspected of having committed family violence are directed to contact the team leader of the family crisis team;
  • permitting time for CAF members to attend any recommended services; and
  • ensuring D Med Pol is advised with regard to any administrative or disciplinary action that may be taken in respect of a CAF member.

CAF Members

  • being familiar with the dynamics of family violence and the resources available to assist; and
  • taking an active part in the elimination of family violence within the CAF.

7. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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